When I get into discussions with people about the healing properties of music – especially parents, they often ask me, “When is the right time to start my child on music?” My typical answer is, “From the moment you know you are pregnant.”
Singing to your child from utero, and throughout their infancy, has many important benefits:
- It helps to relax them – slowing heart rate and regulating breathing
- Allows more oxygen to flow through the system and encourages the healthier development of the nervous system
- Strengthens the connection with the mother, creating a healthier attachment, which impacts social development later in life
Singing also relaxes the mother, or whoever is taking care of the baby, and makes them more present. This is especially important for infants who are extremely sensitive to the energy around them.
Playing soothing music can have many of the same benefits. The relaxing quality and organized patterns of the music can also offset the agitating effects on a sensitive baby of all the irregular and sharp noises that fill our day and our environments.
Whether it is because I believe so strongly in the power of music, or whether I have taken on some of my belated father’s sensibility as a pediatrician, it always warms my heart to hear stories of how a mother is applying these healing practices to her infant or when a health care institution invites these practices into pediatric and neo-natal units. The attached NY Times article, “Live Music’s Charms, Soothing Premature Hearts,” is a beautiful example of the use of music to improve the well-being, and foster the healthy development, of pre-mature babies.
At the essence of life, everything – including the cells of our bodies, is vibration. The quality of those vibrations and the complex systems that they control – our emotions, our thoughts, and even our physical well being, can be significantly effected and shaped by music. If we want to enjoy the positive impact of music on our lives and the lives of those we love, it is never too early to start.
For more information on Music and Health check out Part Four of the WHY Music Series, Music: The Healer.